Industrial-Grade Temperature Requirements for PCI-e Gen 3 Fanout Switch Applications

Climate variations at very hot or cold temperatures as well as heat generated from continuous operation affect the reliability of computational equipment in various applications. Typical applications such as defense and industrial computing, test equipment, military, industrial automation, healthcare, physical security, instrumentation and aviation require more reliable, industrial components than readily available commercial components.

There are many differences between industrial- and commercial-grade devices. The main difference is in the maximum die temperature at which the device will still meet the specified characteristics. The extra temperature range of industrial components gives an extra margin of safety that the products will not fail. Commercial parts are those that are tested to meet the commercial temperature range of 0C (Ta) to 70C (Ta) but may fail at the industrial temperature requirements of -40 degrees C ambient (Ta) to 85 degrees C (Ta) which are tested to a higher standard. In many cases commercial grade products initially appear to meet the needs of a specific application, but, the true test of a product is its ability to last the lifetime of the application in the field. MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) or MTTF (Mean Time To Failure), a measure of the device’s reliability, measured in hours of trouble free operation, is significantly higher for industrial grade devices.

According to the PXI Systems Alliance: “In 2009 the PXISA announced that there were more than 100,000 PXI systems deployed containing more than 600,000 instruments. Today, there are more than 55 PXISA member companies that have produced more than 1,500 different PXI modules”. As shown in Figure 1, the 2011 Frost and Sullivan Modular Instrumentation study expected the PXI instrumentation market to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 18.1% for the next 6 years. At that rate, the PXI market was expected to exceed 1 billion USD by 2017.”


Looking ahead, according to market research firm IndustryARC, they expect the equipment market for industrial applications to continue expansion with Instrumentation poised to grow from $1.07 billion in 2017 to $2.34 billion in 2022. The firm expects the equipment market for other industrial applications to continue to expand during this forecast period, including medical imaging, video surveillance, and the radar semiconductor market. Hence, the growth projections of these markets have prompted the availability of industrial temperature grade PCIe switches, to meet future demand.

Microsemi’s PFX-I PCIe switches operate over an extended temperature range of -40 degrees C ambient to 105 degrees C junction, supporting up to 48 ports, 48 Non-Transparent Bridges (NTBs), 24 virtual switches, advanced error handling, hot- and surprise-plug controllers, dynamic port bifurcation and dynamic partitioning.

A typical use case where the Microsemi SwitchtecTM PFX-I extended industrial Gen3 PCIe switches may be used in, is the following PXI Chassis. Of the six devices available in the PFX-I extended industrial Gen3 PCIe switch family, the 96 lane, PM8576B would be suitable for this application as depicted below:

  • PCIe Switch forms the core of the chassis.
  • PXI chassis provides the PCIe point-to-point bus topology for communication between controller and modules.
  • Controller options include high-performance embedded controllers with either a Microsoft Windows OS or a real-time OS
  • Modules include Digital Multimeter, Digital I/O, spectrum analyzers, timing and synchronization, data acquisition, oscilloscopes etc. (with over 1150+ other module types available)

Microsemi’s Switchtec PM857x PFX-I extended industrial Gen3 PCIe switches are now in production and available to order. For more information, look at the Switchtec PFX, PFX-I & PFX-L Gen3 Fanout PCIe Switches page on our site or contact the Microsemi sales team by email here:

Microsemi offers a full portfolio of complimentary products to the PCIe Fanout switch including PCIe Redriver/retimer, PCIe synchronizer, RDMA CPLD for PCIe and power management for PCIe. Download Microsemi’s PCIe Gen 3 Solutions Overview Brochure for a full portfolio of products.

More information: Switchtec PFX, PFX-I & PFX-L Gen3 Fanout PCIe Switches.

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